Grandma’s Apron

When going through the family albums recently I noticed something about the pictures of both of my grandmothers.They were always wearing a patterned dress and in 80% of the pictures they had an apron on as well,  with the dress being one pattern and the apron another. Interesting, for some of these pictures were taken outside. Now that I think back on it, I recall that their aprons were part of their daily attire. Even outside.
The apron can be traced back as far as the 17th century when women’s wardrobes were scant, so the apron served as a daily wear preservation for the garment  along with protection  from stains and splashes. According to my research, a  housedress could be worn two or three days with the help of a good heavy apron. In the early 1920’s empty seed and feed sacks became a wonderful source for apron material. I am fortunate to have a couple of those aprons. I also have an apron that hangs on a peg in my kitchen given to me by Tom and Pat Miller of West Jefferson. Tom’s great  grandfather wore it at his grocery store,  Emerick’s,  on Towne Street in Columbus, Ohio  sixty-five years ago ,where today there is a library . I am honored to have this heirloom.
My grandmother used her apron for more than just a stain catcher, though. I can remember her going out to the garden ( with me in tow) and she would hold out her apron and make a “pouch” which  we would fill with tomatoes, and whatever else we were taking into the house. And many times I recall she would grab a pair of scissors and head to the flower beds which were  down along the fence in the front and side yard. Holding out her apron, we would slowly walk t along, allowing me to cut the flowers and gently place them inside her apron. Sometimes these flowers went home with me, and other times we made a big bouquet for the kitchen table. I didn’t live far from my grandparents, however she still would  delicately wrap the stems in damp newspaper. In the summer months you will find flowers on my kitchen table most anytime you drop by. Sometimes when there were no flowers in bloom  we loaded up on dandelion blossoms, and yes, she would put those on the table as well. What woman doesn’t see the beauty in a yellow dandelion picked by a child?
Some of the aprons my grandmothers wore had pockets all across the bottom. Just the place to store tissues, a paring knife for the garden , maybe a pencil or two, something you might find when cleaning house to be put up later, or a piece of sweet candy for a good little girl.
When I was in high school I was in a skit in my junior year about a southern family moving north. I had tried out for ,and won, the part of the elderly grandmother. Without any thinking I knew exactly where I would get my outfit. Grandma fixed me up with one of her printed dresses, a pair of her old back shoes that laced up the front  and had a little stocky heel, and, naturally, one of her kitchen aprons. I remember the dress rehearsal and me and several of my friends tying pillows around my tummy and hips to give me that voluptuous, well fed look. (Today, I would be able to pull off the look without the pillows) Grandma told me I could keep the old dress and the worn out shoes, but she would like to have the apron back. Guess she knew what was important.
 My Grandma used to make a dessert called Date Nut Pudding. Grandma gave this recipe to  my dad, and he passed it down to me. Look real closely with me and you can see her bending down , taking it from the oven, and placing it on the counter to cool, in her printed dress and that wonderful old kitchen apron..
Grandma’s Date Nut Pudding
1 cup each of Brown sugar, flour ,chopped dates
1 teas. Baking powder
½ teas. Salt
½ c. milk
Mix and pour this in an ungreased 8×8 baking dish
¼ cup each of white and brown sugar
2 c. boiling water
1 teas. Butter
1 cup chopped nuts
Pour over first mixture
Bake @ 350’ for 30 minutes
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One Response to Grandma’s Apron

  1. Christa Krueger says:

    You did it again, Jeanie, bringing back fond memories of time gone by. I never knew
    my both grandmothers working in their kitchens, they lived too far away for us to visit, both died, when I was very young. But my mother’s oldest sister, 21 years her senior, always represented a grandmotherly figure and as you described, always wearing an Apron over her dress. Mind you, colour in the late thirties and early forties, when I grew up and spend a lot of summers at my aunt’s little hobby farm, was not ‘IN’, the drabness of her clothing (usually black or navy) made her even look older than she really was, she also always wore a head scarf, never saw her without one. But there is a lot to be said of these good old days. No matter, what country you are from, I think, habits, traditions, every day living was everywhere just about the same. You do have wonderful memories of your grandparents, what a treasure to hold in your heart.
    We were not fortunate to physically go back to our childhood haven, as in 1945 my relatives had to forcefully leave their properety and all their belongings as the Russian Military signed that part of Germany over to the Polish people. During a very harsh winter, these refugees trekked by foot through blizzards for almost a month with only
    their clothes on their backs until they reached places where other relatives were waiting for them. My relatives made it, a lot of refugees died along the side of the roads, they were forced to walk on, always under loaded rifle guard, held by the Russians.
    Jeanie, I hope, you’ll forgive me, but every time I do read your wonderful stories, it does bring back so many memories in my life. Thanks for sharing and thanks for listening.
    Copied your Grandma’s Date Nut Pudding, as well as the Pineapple upside down cake. With our very strict doctor’s ordered food intake, I do occasionally allow ourselves a little treat. This and your Pineapple upside down cake will be two of them.

    I forgot to ask you in my previous comment, where you gave 1/2 stick of butter in the recipe, how much is 1/2 stick of butter, maybe 1/2 cup??
    Thanks again Jeanie for your beautiful writings.
    I’ve noticed you do have a lot more listed.
    I will slowly read one by one, just sometimes I do run out of time.

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